Sex Trafficking Is Not An Urban Myth

 

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*Follow The Ideal Firestarter for *The Trusted Four.

TW:  sex trafficking, rape culture.

 

Cyntoia Brown-Long was a victim of sex trafficking. She spent almost half of her young life in the Tennessee Department of Corrections for killing a man. Please don’t think that the glow up on social media is instantaneous. I promise you that it isn’t.  The scary thing is that 1 in 6 women will a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime. What is not often discussed is sex trafficking, also known as human trafficking.

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It can happen in public. Private parties. From random hook-ups. on BackPage. And on any social media site! This is not something that women make up, that they lie about people exaggerate about.

There are still people in the world that still buy women, still buy people, and are willing to trade in flesh–by any means necessary! There was a recent case in the Midwest (in St. Louis) where a woman was almost taken from a supermarket!

There was a man whom was following her through this store, and when she left, she saw that same man in a white van, driving towards her. This woman was a single mother, out at the store, in a major US city. Minding her business and was almost taken from all that she knew!

It can happen just THAT quick.

You don’t know what terror is until you have been a woman and followed for by someone you don’t know–and won’t leave you alone. What’s more? When you retell this experience to don’t believe you.  Or think it’s not possible.

The fact of the matter is, sex trafficking/intimate partner/human trafficking can happen to any woman! What’s more? It is more likely to happen to Black and Brown women. All it takes is for someone to orchestrate a situation for someone to be caught up in!

A girl answering a modeling ad–alone.

A young man going to a party with people he doesn’t know, with no idea where it is.

A group of girls going out and one guy just won’t leave her alone.

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Are you feeling shooketh? Good. That  means you’re paying  attention. Look at these stats, just from Chicago:

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Exploitation is always lucrative; there is always money in oppression. This is no different. There is nothing so prevalent, so pervasive, so great a commodity as unseen, unvalued people.

It just so happens that the most unseen commodity is minority women. For more confirmation, read This Bridge Called My Back. 

The nasty part? This wouldn’t be pervasive a problem if it were not for the evil women that sometimes head these syndicates (remember the scandal involving and AKA advisor in Atlanta!)  or participate in them.

Not every woman is to be trusted.

Not every woman that smiles, is smiling at you–they are smiling because they caught you.

Beloveds, don’t get caught. Listen to your intuition. Know your surroundings. Realize the exits in a place. I’m not saying to be paranoid, but be aware. Please be aware.

Think of getting a Trusted Four. This something I found on social media today.  Peep this image:

 

 Be safe y’all. As my good girlfriend said, echoing her father, “Don’t get lost.” But if you do, let someone find you.

 

 

 

 

 

When Mama Can’t Protect You-Part 1 (Prelude To ‘The Talk’)

TW:  Police brutality, police abuse, wrongful arrest

 

This came through my personal Twitter timeline on Father’s Day of all things. And I was inconsolable. In looking through this thread, all  I could think is, “This could have been my daughter. This child is my daughter’s age.” I make no qualms about my valid, palpable distrust of law enforcement. I make no reassertion that I am changing my mind about that. I have not trusted law enforcement since I was about 10, and I’m almost 40. With that being said, I make no bones about my Mama Lion nature for my children. In reading this thread, my heart sank. I wanted to stave off having ‘The Talk’ with my oldest daughter. The same daughter that is beautiful, intelligent, and stands 5’6.5″ at age 11 1/2.  I am aware that the world will not always see her as a girl. As an adolescent Black girl.

When I saw this thread, and really began to digest what had happened to this child without her mother present, left me horrified. The rundown was this:

A group of Black kids were playing on a movie parking lot. The police saw them and told them to move along. The kids grumbled and muttered but they go on. Nicole (the woman in the screenshot), heard screaming. She looked up and saw one of the officers dragging one of the child to the car. There are more cop cars that appeared (Nicole said it was 5-6 cars). She gets out her car and asks what is going on. The cops tell her to move along. She sees on child in the car’s backseat–handcuffed. The other girl was shaken and about to be arrested as well. Nicole advocated for the child, and confronting the police officer. The handcuffed child did not have her phone, and it would seem she was arrested for ‘loitering.’ Nicole gave this child her phone to call her mother. The police said they were going to release her to her mother. Nicole continues to advocate for these children, and speaking to the girl’s mother–she waits for her to get to the area. Another older couple is parked nearby watching. The handcuffed girl’s mom arrives, and wants to know what happened. Turns out, the girls are arrested without being Mirandized, or without a guardian present. Once that’s pointed out, the officer tells Nicole to leave. She doesn’t. The girls are released to their mother/aunt. Nicole gives Mom the name of lawyers that she knows. 

As a mother, I was horrified. My husband and I have gone round and round about how to handle raising our girls when these situations exist. I know that the world doesn’t see Black girls as girls–especially if Black girls are tall or in any way shapely! I never looked my age from 11-17. And my mother had to gently tell me that I had to watch how I dressed because I didn’t look my age. Not to leave the house without my purse that at least had my school identification. I knew that the police wouldn’t think that I was 13, 14 or 15, unless my parents were with me.

With this though? I thought I had more time, at least one more year to allow my daughter to be protected completely by her Mama Lion. But that shattered yesterday. This is the paradox Black parents have:  we know the world sees our children as never being such. But we know they are. I have talked to my husband about our daughter having a cell phone. He said she was too young. I disagreed. I tried to tell him that the world is such that she needed access to us in case she needed us.

This is another reminder that she is becoming more and more visible on the real world’s radar. It was a reminder that if something like this happened to my baby, I would want someone to help her. To see her. I would want her to know how to handle herself if an officer stopped her, and had no right to do so.  I know that in having this talk, The Talk, with her, a portion of her innocence is, and will be gone. And there is nothing I can do about that.

 

 

For A Fast Girl: When They Call You A Name

I don’t know who started this.

I don’t know who the first person was to call a Black girl fast.

I don’t know if it was meant to be a joke or a correction or to save her life from something unseen. What I do know is, now a century and a half from enslavement (and what passes as freedom), this word has been used to corrale Black girls ever since.

From there, it’s a slippery slope, right? If you can call a Black girl ‘fast’, it’s easier to call her a ‘ho.’ Which makes it easier to call her a ‘bitch.’ Which, in turn, makes her devalue the other Black girls around her using the same vernacular.

It is so easy to devalue a little Black girl. Making her an object and not a person is the quickest way to keep doing that. To keep making all the music she listens to value her body and latent, potential sexual prowess.

With this roux, you’ll always grow fresh crops of fast girls.

Inevitably, someone will challenge this observation. They’ll say I’m too sensitive. That I’m overreacting or my favorite: hit dogs holler. To that, I counter by saying, “Who is throwing the rocks?!” I’m not being sensitive so much as observant. That’s what my job is as a writer.

In the age of hook-up culture versus primo geniture fueled by toxic patriarchy; of #MeToo and rape culture; sexual assault taken as a male past time, someone must be vigilant. Someone must be willing to protect our girls. Someone must believe them. Someone must be willing to go to the mat for little Black girls and women. Someone has to be willing to take the rocks that accusers have and disarm them. One at a time.

In the interest of honesty, I too have been called fast. By my aunts that thought I was doing too much for male attention (e.g., switching, what I wore). I’ve also been called a ‘ho.’ And bitch. And ugly. These comments came from young men, men and boys that once I wouldn’t, couldn’t give them what they wanted (either sex or attention), the next step was to try and make me feel bad. In making me feel less than, their egos remained in check and unscathed (note: this is how toxic patriarchy works).

However, the great thing about aging out of that particular bracket where being called fast was an option is self-reflection. I now have the life experience to look back and determine just what and why that was trash behavior! Moreover, I am able to assert the trash behavior was independent of me! This means people projected what they thought onto me.

In a toxic, sexually charged culture, any deviation to that acceptance of said dominant culture is, can be, problematic. Not allowing myself to be dehumanized was problematic. Standing up for myself is problematic. Not allowing myself to be loved or desired in pieces was problematic. Not being sexually available (which is the definition of being a ‘fast’ girl might I add!) was problematic!

The adage goes, “It’s not what they call you, but what you answer to.” In order to protect yourself and your spirit, you cannot answer to every thing you are called. At the same time, knowing who you are will make those names not stick. And those same dogs that holler? You can throw your rock right back at them.